CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Junior shortstop Chris Taylor backed up shutout pitching by four University of Virginia (16-8-1) pitchers as the No. 26 Cavaliers beat the Tigers, 8-0, in a non-conference game at Davenport Field on Tuesday evening.
Virginia pitching shut out the Tigers (12-11) on three hits while walking five and striking out eight. It was the Cavaliers’ first shutout of the season.
Wertz singled with one out in the second inning while Willard had a one-out single in the fifth. Butler led off the ninth inning with a single and reached third base before junior righthander Joel Effertz ended the game by retiring junior catcher Andrew Parker on a line drive to left field.
The Cavaliers, who reached the College World Series last year, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as freshman righthander Paul Beers struggled with his control. Taylor led off and drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch. Second baseman Branden Cogswell also drew a walk as Virginia had two runners on base with no outs. Both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Stephen Bruno. The Cavaliers took a lead when Taylor scored the first run of the game when rightfielder Mike Papi reached on an error by Willard. The Tigers escaped the jam when first baseman Jared King hit a ground ball to second baseman Mike Draper, who turned the grounder into an inning-ending double play.
In the second inning, a single by Wertz and walks to freshman first baseman Peter Bowles and Parker loaded the bases with one out. However, senior righthander Shane Halley pitched himself out of the jam by striking out Draper and Willard.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Cavaliers extended their lead to 2-0. With one out, freshman designated hitter Nick Howard singled. Sophomore centerfielder Mitchell Shifflett followed with a single to right before senior catcher Keith Werman drew a walk to load the bases. Taylor drove in Howard with a single to rightfield, giving Virginia a 2-0 lead. But, the Cavaliers couldn’t get any more runs as Cogswell grounded into a force play as Shifflett was retired at home plate. Bruno was retired on a fly ball to centerfield, ending the inning.
Papi led off the third inning with a double but was stranded at third base.
In the fourth inning, Beers walked the leadoff hitter, Shifflett. He was relieved by freshman righthander Nick Cioffi. After Shifflett stole second base, he advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Werman. A sacrifice fly by Taylor enabled Shifflett to score, upping the lead to 3-0.
The Cavaliers increased their lead to 4-0 in the sixth inning. Werman and Taylor started the rally with back-to-back singles. With runners on first and third, Cogswell bunted back to the mound while Werman scored the fourth run of the game. But, Cioffi retired the next two hitters to escape the inning.
In the seventh inning, Virginia broke the game open. King opened the inning by reaching base when he was hit by a pitch. When leftfielder Derek Fisher tripled down the rightfield line, King scored to give the Cavaliers a 5-0 advantage and knock Cioffi out of the game. Sophomore lefthander Kyle Paul came on to pitch and Howard greeted him with an RBI single. After Shifflett bunted him to second base, Howard reached third base on a single by Werman. When Taylor grounded out to third base, Howard scored to give the Cavaliers a 7-0 lead.
Facing junior righthander Sean Bertrand, Bruno led off the eighth inning with a solo home run down the left field line that landed just inside the foul pole, giving Virginia an 8-0 advantage.
In the ninth inning, the Tigers made a bid to break up the shutout. After Butler led off with a single, Wertz drew a walk. However, Bowles grounded into a double play before Parker lined out to left, ending the game.
Beers, who allowed three runs on four hits in three innings, suffered the loss. Cioffi gave up three runs on six hits in his three innings of work. Paul allowed one run on two hits in one inning while Bertrand gave up a run in his inning of relief.
Halley shut out the Tigers on two hits with 4.1 innings of work. He walked three and struck out four. Sophomore lefthander Kyle Crockett returned all five hitters he faced as he earned his first win of the season. Sophomore righthander Austin Young pitched one scoreless inning of relief before Effertz finished up with two scoreless innings of relief.
The shutout was Virginia’s third in a row against Towson. The Cavaliers shut out the Tigers twice last season.
The Tigers and the Cavaliers close out their two-game series on Wednesday night at 5:00 p.m.